Inkcups, which makes a range of direct-to-object printers, has introduced a new printer, the Xjet Switch, which is designed for printing both direct-to-bag – meaning tote bags – and hard goods such as notebooks and other promotional items. The Switch was first shown at the Printing United exhibition in the US in 2022 but is now available worldwide. It’s CE certified and complies with EU healthy, safety and environmental requirements.
The Switch is part of Inkcups’ line of UV flatbed printers and it does appear that Inkcups has mainly adapted the bed to fit it with platens for tote bags. The main advantage is that customers can print a range of promotional items on the same printer as opposed to using different printers and inksets for different items. According to the press release, this is the first UV printer for decorating bags, which is probably because such bags are usually printed on adapted textile printers that use water-based inks that are generally seen as more sustainable.
The Switch prints CMYK plus two white channels. It uses Inkcups XFlexx UV LED ink, which can also be used with Inkcups other printers. It’s said to be a durable ink that can be twisted and folded without cracking. Inkcups does say that its white ink is particularly opaque, but then just about every vendor says that about their white ink. Curing is via two 16 watt UV lamps.
It’s said to include some recirculation of the white inks though there’s no indication of what level of recirculation, or of the print heads or print resolution. However it’s worth noting that other Inkcups flatbed printers have used Ricoh Gen5 heads.
The Switch has a bed of 350 x 650mm, and takes parts up to 203.2mm in height. It can be fitted with multiple platens so that operators can load one product while it’s printing on another. It takes objects that are flat or slightly curved, rigid or flexible.
It will print on a number of different materials, including polyester, PVC, canvas, non-woven and a variety of plastics. However, some of these materials may require pretreatment, which the Switch does not appear to offer so that users would have to apply this manually.
Benjamin Adner, CEO of Inkcups, commented: “This direct-to-bag printer generated a tremendous amount of excitement among our customers, who have been eagerly seeking a consistent and sustainable way to decorate reusable bags. This innovative machine serves as the perfect solution to their needs, for tote bags and beyond, and we hope to exceed their expectations. We enthusiastically anticipate the creative possibilities that our customers will bring to life with the Xjet Switch.”
If you are interested in learning more about advances in industrial inkjet production, join Mark Bale, Terry Clayton and Elizabeth Gooding on Tuesday September 12, 2023 for the Innovations in Industrial Inkjet webinar. Here’s a description or you can go directly to Zoom to register.